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Planet Ubuntu postings

Everyone Can Have a New "Datacenter" Right Now, Even You!

A (new) datacenter? Me? Really? Why would I want that?

Answer 1: Because if you're an individual, you have problems to solve that cannot be solved by consuming one more app from a store.

Answer 2: Because if you're a company, you have problems to solve that cannot be solved economically (if at all) by your current datacenter, which is probably out-moded, out-dated, and brittle.

Recently, I've been having discussions with people who follow tech (but who don't make it a full-time job) and one thing I've been hearing and sensing is that a lot of people don't quite get "cloud" and "OpenStack". I could even add Open Source to this list, but I'll save that for later.) This is not a slam, or a criticism of them. It's an observation, and it's a shame that it's this way.

These are bright people with real work they need to get done and real problems they would like to solve. They need to get on with things without additional cognitive load and with minimal expense. But, when they hear the constant drone of cloud jargon, their eyes glaze over and when they see that complexity they think they'll need a small army of consultants to help.

In the spirit of "Amplify(ing) the Signal" (my blog's title), what is the source of this noise and how can we filter it out to find the information, the signal?

The noise: I mostly blame the tech (marketing) industry for creating and perpetuating confusion and thinking that's acceptable behaviour. With a few exceptions, this is an industry that makes no attempt to simplify technical jargon and to describe solutions in easy and obvious ways. To do so would be to allow people to get on with their lives and simply "get things done". Horror of horrors!

But in this often "messy" world, there are a few beacons and heroes; people that are really trying to make the world better and to bring technology to everyone, without bias or prejudice.

This is exactly what initially attracted me to Ubuntu. Ubuntu brought the promise of free and open computing to me. With Ubuntu, I didn't need to spend hours or days configuring kernel this and driver that and typing gobbledegook on command lines. I simply popped in a CD, and was on my way.

Eleven years later, and Ubuntu has done it again. Allow me to present the signal.

Computers are no longer just your laptop, your desktop, your phone, tablet, or gadget. Computers are now collections of machines that are interconnected. Software is no longer an "app" that runs on your device. Software is a collection of programs that run on many computers, some of which you touch and hold and own and many of which you don't. Take your blog for instance. It's likely running on someone else's machines and consists of at least a front end (content management system), a database, and maybe some load balancing.

    Cloud: A collection of computers that you don't own or manage and that you control by issuing simple commands. In return, it provides computing services to you.

Sounds a bit like what we called a datacenter years ago, right? That's because it is. But, it's an improved datacenter. Simpler, more reliable, more scalable, more versatile, and much cheaper. These new datacenters are capable of running modern software. These datacenters can be in your home, your garage, your company, or in a building somewhere else in your city, or a faraway place. The can be in a combination of more than one of these places.

    OpenStack: A popular "flavour" of cloud computing that is free, open, and available to all.

We have reached a point in history where it is now possible for you to have a solution to your problem in your own datacenter that is based on an OpenStack cloud. If someone has already installed servers for you, then you can have your solution ready to go in less than 30 minutes.

Please watch Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, show you how it's done.

It's worth watching the whole video, but if you only have a few minutes, then watch it from the point below where Mark sets up a blog hosted on an OpenStack cloud in less than one minute, with Juju.


If you have a little more time, then watch Mark demo how to build an OpenStack cloud in minutes, not in hours or days, with Autopilot.

Welcome to a simpler, more cost-effective, and more interesting tech world. I hope you will use these free and open technologies to get on with solving problems and making the world a better place.

And, I hope you will reject those in the tech industry that insist on keeping things difficult, confusing, and expensive. Or, as Mark would say...

No headcount, no consultants, no problem.

OpenPOWER in Two Clicks

Hello friendly Ubuntu developers.

Do you have software in a Personal Package Archive (PPA) on Launchpad? It just got super easy to build it for OpenPOWER!

OpenPOWER is the future. Future is now. You can be part of it.

Head over to Launchpad and do this.

Visit the main web page for your PPA. For example:

Follow the “Change details” link. Enable OpenPOWER by checking the box "PowerPC64 Little-Endian (ppc64el)"

More information can be found at the Launchpad blog here:

Thanks Colin Watson, and many other fine folks in Canonical including our wonderful sysadmins for making this a day to celebrate!

Ubuntu: From Your Phone to Your Mainframe

Just minutes ago, Mark Shuttleworth took the stage at "that really big conference" in Seattle to announce that Ubuntu will be powering IBM mainframes. So, it's official: the brilliant OS that you love on your desktop, that is blazing a new trail in phones and devices, that is lighting up OpenStack and cloud computing, that is making the "Internet of Things" an internet of *your* things is now powering the world's most performant systems!

We live in exciting times!

There's lots of good coverage out there. I hope you'll take a few minutes to check it out.




Juju: Re-Framing the Discussion

A while back, just before Dockercon 2015, the friendly folks behind Ubuntu, Juju, LXD, and a whole bunch of other goodness hosted a special event that was all about service modelling, orchestration, and making all the container-y Docker-y stuff work well with in the DevOps world.

We assembled a panel of industry luminaries, including our very own Ben Saller. For those of you who don't know Ben, he's one of the original creators of Juju and an all-around great guy.

At one point in the panel discussion, the moderator asked (I'm paraphrasing) whether the Twitter's and Google's of the world are a "special breed" with respect to the scale of containerization or whether that's become a more common design pattern for the "rest of us", i.e. the smaller companies... Though indirect, the question implied that the rest of the world was now ready for scale and the solutions that provide it.

Here's what Ben had to say in response:

    I don't thinks it's the scale that you're operating at, it's the properties that you demand of the infrastructure.
    Everybody wants the self healing. Everybody wants the dynamic recovery, the load balancing.
    The problem becomes an economic function for many people, whether or not they can run eight machines to have some kind of bespoke PaaS (1) to do the one piece of software they have. It's not worth it in some sense unless that piece of software is mision-critical to carry a lot of infrastructure. And, it's very difficult to specialize a team to gain the knowledge to do that for a small organization.
    So, when we talk about things like Kubernetes or the kinds of software that we have with Juju and the other things what we're really trying to do is exactly what you were talking about: Make those best practices available by capturing the automation stylings of the larger players and presenting them in a cost-effective way.
    And I think that everyone is interested in that. Absolutely.

Sometimes, the problem being solved isn't well formed. It has been framed in a manner that makes us blind to the path forward. (I think much of the tech industry does this on purpose, but that's the topic of a whole other article.) This concept resonates with me as someone who studied engineering. In my university days, engineering professors were particularly clever at creating assignment problems that were solvable only if framed correctly. Approach a problem the wrong way, and you'd be up all night dating an intractable problem with no solution in sight.

Ben obviously gets this. Watch the video and see for yourself. He's the guy with the beard ;)

So, before you jump on a tool to solve a problem, frame your problem carefully and with precision, then pick a tool to help you.

Yes, that tool could be Juju.

(1) PaaS = Platform-as-a-Service

Real Local Community Growth

I was initially annoyed to see implications earlier on Planet Ubuntu that Ubuntu community was in decline. I was tempted to name this article "Why the Negativity? Let's Get On With Making Ubuntu Awesome"

Ubuntu community is not in decline, if you take a broader view and stick to basics. Some (may) continue to focus on a very narrow segment of society (developers mostly) and that's a shame. It's also not the ubuntu I joined. I seem to recall that "We're all one." We do not count certain types of people over others and we should not proclaim the decline of a community when a thin demographic is not increasing in numbers.

Let's define some terms:

A metropolitan area (city) in British Columbia, Canada.

An area that is traversable on foot or bike or public transit within 45 minutes.

A group of people that share an affinity to one another, historically by virtue of being local.

An increase in numbers over time.

Without limit.

Any questions?

Phones In An Imagination-Starved World

In my "Why Smart Phones Aren't" series (1), I had expressed my hope that I would actually see a phone that is truly smart in my lifetime.

I challenged people to re-think what a phone should be and recommended that as a prime directive a phone should be "Respectful to its owner first."

Seems that I and Joe Liau are not the only two voices in the forest here. Bunnie Huang has weighed in with an excellent video along a similar theme.

Though the video is not about Ubuntu Phone (2), it should be. The Ubuntu Phone has begun to change the world, but we still have a ways to go. Perhaps spreading the idea that current market-leading phones are a "waste of life" will help.

Let's continue to disrupt an industry that has needed a good shake for at least a decade. Spreading this information helps.


(1): http://randall.executiv.es/missing-the-point

(2): http://www.ubuntu.com/phone

Cool Conference Ideas

I just returned from a large, well managed conference in Portland (you know the one), and this was one of the ideas that stood out as excellent, at least in my opinion: Sticker Table!

People leave stickers, take stickers, and see stickers. It's a great way to give your project more visibility and it's also a great way to see what other projects are around, and possibly even at the show/conference.

Have you seen anything at recent shows that made you say, "Wow! Great idea." Please share in the comments or shoot an email to randall at ubuntu dot com.

Hey San Francisco! We're Modelling and Conducting!

On Sunday night (June 21st), the friendly folks that bring you Ubuntu, Juju, LXD, and a whole bunch of other goodness are hosting a special, pre-Dockercon event that's all about service modelling, orchestration, and making all the container-y Docker-y stuff work well with in the DevOps world.

Interested in systems architecture and design? This event is for you.

We have an panel of industry luminaries assembled to discuss things like:

  • What is the importance of service modelling?
  • What does orchestration really mean in real-world terms?
  • Where is the management of complex systems headed?

Expect lively discussion, debate, and a healthy dose of the future.

Additionally, we'll have lightning talks before the panel,

Best of all, it's free and light refreshments will be provided.

Register now! We're almost out of space...


Hope to see you there.

If you have no idea what this world of Docker, containers, orchestration, etc. etc. is all about, then I recommend a couple of articles to get your wheels turning:


Spark'ing a Big Data Breakthrough in San Francisco!

If you are in (or can get to) San Francisco today (Tuesday June 16th) at 8pm, I hope you'll drop in to our social event to discover a really easy way to get Big Data solutions deployed onto your favourite public or private cloud. Meet the wonderful Canonical and Ubuntu folks that work on Juju and Big Data.

Though it's a social, we'll have a special guest appearance by our now famous Orange Box.

We're calling this event "Mine & Mingle". It starts at 8pm. Tickets are free. Register here:

Introducing the Juju Charmer

Today, Ubuntu Vancouver is proud to release our newest ubuntu-themed cocktail: the Juju Charmer!

The Juju Charmer cocktail has been meticulously crafted to meet the highest quality standards of the Juju Charmers team and community Charmers everywhere. After a full development cycle including rigorous testing, an alpha, and a beta, and numerous reviews we've refined this cocktail to match the quality and consistency that one would expect from the best Charms. Best practices distilled and mixed!

We've also worked extra hard to ensure that the taste and colour of this beautiful cocktail is something that you, your friends, and your family can enjoy regardless of whether they've ever heard of ubuntu or juju.

In fact, when you enjoy a Juju Charmer together, you might just find that they get quite curious about the world's friendliest and most collaborative development project. They may even get curious enough to sample the freedom that you enjoy every day, thanks to ubuntu and juju.

So raise a glass and cheer "Juju" (joo-joo), or even "Ubuntu" (oo-boon-too) and watch heads turn. Watch people wonder what all the fuss is about.

A full-resolution image suitable for printing is available at http://www.ubuntuvancouver.org/jujucharmer. Why not print a few thousand of these cards and hand them out to bartenders everywhere? That's how ubuntu spreads.

:~$juju deploy spin


Special thanks go to Joe Liau, co-creator.
The creators wish to thank Marco Ceppi for his superb choice of rum and also Canonical's Juju Ecosystems team for graciously providing feedback and for adding enough units to ensure spin!

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